The growth of TikTok has been exponential over the past year, aided by the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdowns. Now, the popular social network platform is being used by digital marketers with huge success.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short form video sharing social network owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, with genres such as dance, comedy and education.
With currently 1.1 billion active monthly users worldwide, it’s the 7th most used social network sites ahead of popular apps like Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. It’s most popular among teenagers across the globe, but there is also a strong presence of millennials and some baby boomers.
How does TikTok work?
The technology and algorithm behind the platform hasn’t been made public knowledge, but the experts have made their assumptions. Users can discover videos through the use of hashtags, which can be added to videos by the creators at the time of upload. Each user has an individually-curated home feed known as then ‘For You page’, allowing people to discover fresh, new content. This content is based on previous interactions with videos, users and hashtags.
How can TikTok be used for digital marketing?
Due to its fast growth and rising popularity, many brands have realised the potential of TikTok as a marketing channel and have taken full advantage.
Primarily, brands have recognised the importance of TikTok as a key way to engage with younger audiences by encouraging user-generated content and the ability to partner with relevant, popular influencers. TikTok influencers, both micro and macro, witness very high engagement rates in comparison to those on other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. For example: a TikTok micro-influencer witnesses, on average, an 18% engagement rate in comparison to 3.86% on Instagram and 1.63% on YouTube.
There are four key ways that marketers can begin using TikTok:
1. Start a branded channel: You can create a branded page and begin producing content with no budget. Make sure your content is engaging and you are utilising hashtags in your specific niche. This will allow the algorithm to process the videos and deliver them to an audience that will be interested.
2. Collaborate with influencers: There are lots of micro and macro influencers on the app that cover every niche and industry. By collaborating with them, you can reach users that are likely to be interested in your product or service that resonates with them. You can either approach the influencer, or make use of TikTok’s ‘Creator Marketplace‘, which is designed to link brands and creators together.
3. Start a hashtag challenge: Although this can be more difficult to gain major success from, a hashtag challenge can be a great way for brands to encourage users to create user-generated content.
4. Use TikTok advertising: An ad campaign can reach your audience in 24 hours, and can include anything from in-feed ads to branded effects. The recommended video ad length is between 9 and 15 seconds, with the ability to target specific behavioural patterns, interests, and targeted audiences.
What’s next for TikTok in 2022?
While the current success and popularity of TikTok means it’s app-of-the-moment, this does not guarantee its longevity unless it keeps innovating and finding new ways to engage the ever-growing user base. In 2022, it is likely we will see TikTok becoming a more marketing-friendly app for brands, in the same way Instagram has in 2021 with the addition of their shopping feature.